A general view of the Camera dei Deputati (Chamber of Deputies) which could serve as a boxing ring. (Photo by Antonio Masiello/Getty Images)


Shoving contest breaks out in Italian Parliament


An Italian plenary debate over local autonomy degenerated into a shoving match on June 13.

The fighting broke out during discussions on a bill regarding “differentiated autonomy”, an issue dividing majority and opposition.

Trouble started when Leonardo Donno, an MP with the Five Star Movement, presented the Italian tricolour flag to regional affairs minister Roberto Calderoli, accusing him of breaking up the county.

Just prior to him doing so, Donno had been expelled from the chamber for being too loud in his opposition.

His actions then brought things to a boiling point and a shoving match ensued.

Almost immediately, the clerks present moved in and tried to stop Donno, grabbing him and pushing him away.

Deputies of The League party joined the fray, to which others also joined in. In video footage around 30 attendees can be seen pushing and shoving each other.

One League MP, Igor Iezzi, first tried to grab the flag but then started throwing punches in the direction of Donno who, despite being metres away, theatrically fell to the floor.

In the end, Donno was reportedly taken in a wheelchair out of the chamber by medical personnel.

An unnamed parliamentary assistant who tried to keep the fighting politicians apart said he was hit in the face and stomach.

Former Italian Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte said what happened in the parliament was “violence from the benches of the Meloni majority”, calling the incident “shameful.”

Donno said of the events: “I took a punch that grazed my face from Deputy Iezzi, others tried, like Mollicone, Candiani. Then many others and the clerks arrived.

“Between the various kicks, I also got a very strong punch to the sternum and I collapsed because I couldn’t breathe. I got scared. I collapsed, I was struggling to breathe,” he claimed.

Following the scrap, Donno’s Five Star group asked for “serious and immediate measures against this act of outright thuggery perpetrated within the institutions, which tarnishes our democracy and characterises those who carried it out”.

Iezzi, who could be seen throwing distant punches on camera, denied on Radio 24 having hit Donno.

“I tried to punch him, but I didn’t hit him. Donno tried to attack Calderoli and I reacted. I walk away and he drops like a stone.

“His drama should be condemned. Repent? It’s a reaction that isn’t justified, but it’s caused by a reason.”

Federico Mollicone of Brothers of Italy said: “It all started with Donno’s disrespectful and outrageous gesture.”

He noted that there was no physical contact: “Donno threw himself to the ground and staged a drama …”

Another League MP, Domenico Furgiuele, was expelled – not over fighting but because he reportedly made the sign of the Decima Mas, a controversial gesture associated with the Second World War.

The Decima Max sign is made by crossing the arms in a particular way but Furgiuele claimed he meant to signal “no”. He added that he made the sign to say he did not like Bella Ciao, an Italian communist-resistance song, which had been sung in the Chamber of Deputies.

According to the European Parliament, differentiated autonomy aims to allow individual regions of Italy to request more management and programming powers in a range of areas that are currently centralised, including education, cultural assets and infrastructure.